Bear escapes enclosure, eludes staff for 90 minutes, zoo reports

Represeanvies with the Saint Louis Zoo said an Andean bear was found outside of its enclosure...
Represeanvies with the Saint Louis Zoo said an Andean bear was found outside of its enclosure this week.(Saint Louis Zoo)
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 2:08 PM HST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV/Gray News) - Officials at a zoo in Missouri say staff found a bear outside of its enclosure Tuesday morning.

KMOV reports staff at the Saint Louis Zoo located an Andean bear, named Ben, outside of an enclosure in the River’s Edge immersion exhibit.

Represeatnvies with the zoo said it took the team about 90 minutes to get the nearly 300-pound bear back into its enclosure.

Billy Brennan, director of public relations at the zoo, said it was a challenge to get the bear sedated because it was in a heavily wooded area and difficult to get a clear tranquilizer shot.

Brennan said Ben was eventually placed back into the enclosure. The animal was reportedly checked medically after the incident and doing fine.

According to Brennan, Ben was meddling with steel mesh in the enclosure, which caused one of the steel cables to break. This created a small hole for the bear to climb through.

Representatives with the zoo said the team is now in the process of inspecting the habitat and others that have a similar steel mesh enclosure to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

The Saint Louis Zoo said the incident happened before it opened at 10 a.m., so no one was in danger, but it did cancel its morning preschool classes that day.

Zoo officials called Tuesday’s incident extremely rare.